In September 2023, the excavation of 50% of the total length of the Main Tunnel and of the Escape Tunnel of the new Rishikesh-Karanprayag railway line in India, which runs 125 km into the Himalayan mountain range towards the Chinese border, was completed.
The works are part of Package 1 under which Italferr, the engineering company of the FS Group's Infrastructure Hub, performs Project Management Consultancy (PMC) services in a JV with the Swiss engineering company Lombardi SA.
Package 1 involves the beginning of the sub-Himalayan area, in the city of Rishikesh, famous for being a pilgrimage site. This is the first of 10 other lots into which the construction of the new Indian railway line is divided, for which Italferr, again in JV with Lombardi, was also awarded Package 8.
There are currently 9 excavation fronts using the traditional method as the use of TBMs has been discouraged due to the presence of squeezing ground.
The conditions of the rock mass as a whole are particularly challenging as it is extremely heterogeneous. It ranges from soils to rock formations that require the use of multiple advancement methods, ranging from jet grouting used for the first time in India, to explosives.
The low covers and the presence of water tables, which grow during the monsoon season, increase the degree of difficulty in carrying out the work.
The PMC JV Team headed by Italferr consists of 40 resources and is managed on site by the Team Leader/Project Manager Giancarlo Rinaldi; internally, the Project is supervised as regards relations with the JV by the Project Manager Pier Luigi Fini while the Project Manager Surjit Singh is the JV representative interfacing with the client RVNL. The team is coordinated by the APAC Area Manager Alessandro Gnani.
Additional international Italferr experts involved in the project directly in the field are the Geotechnician Vasileios Fafas and the Geologist Constantinos Stergiopoulos, from Greece, the Foreman (an expert in machinery and tunnel excavation cycles) Remigio Ferretti, from Austria, and the HSE Manager Jeevagan R., from India.
The work on the project, started in September 2020, should be completed by September 2025.